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Platform

PC

 

Genre

Platformer

 

Publisher

Aspyr

 

Developer

Beenox

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

October 2004

 

 

- Some nice lush graphics

- Continues a strong tradition of jumping and swinging on vines

- Doesn’t take itself too seriously

- Boss fight at the beginning of the game

 

 

- Will be cited as “not advancing the genre”

- Control wobbles

 

 

Review: Pitfall - The Lost Expedition (XB)

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Review: Air Hockey 3D (PC)

 

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Pitfall: The Lost Expedition

Score: 7.0 / 10

 

It’s sad really that every game in the platformer genre is expected to blow all the conventions out of the water and create new ones.  I can’t think of another genre that meets with same criticism to the degree with platformers.  Take Madden for instance.  There’s a series that hasn’t evolved much since 1999, yet you’ll probably never read a review that includes the phrase, “We’ve seen this before.”  It’s an unfortunate situation and that’s where Pitfall: The Lost Expedition finds itself with many other critics.  It’s in these situations I ask myself just because we’ve “been there, done that” does it mean it’s not worth exploring?  Particularly on the PC where gaming choices are so particular – the spectrum seams to have no middle ground.  You’re either playing Pajama Sam or Painkiller.  Pitfall finds itself in the middle and is a great choice for the “tween” crowd.

 

pitfall the lost expedition review          pitfall lost expedition review

 

You assume control of one of gaming’s oldest platforming heroes, Pitfall Harry, on a mission to reunite the lost expedition, which has been scattered over the game map thanks to a plane crash.  But that’s not how The Lost Expedition starts.

 

The Lost Expedition begins with a boss battle and as the battle moves to a conclusion, Harry begins to explain what happened earlier that brought him to the fight with the flaming creature.  It’s a break from convention and a particularly welcome twist – there’s more than one way to tell a story.

 

The production values of The Lost Expedition match or exceed those found with its console counterparts.  (It was also released on GC, PS2, XB.)  The graphics are bright and full of life and comedy – Harry’s head size easily matches Leisure Suit Larry’s – and the audio is good particularly the copious monkey chatter.  There’s nary a graphic disembowelment or gunplay making the whole package family friendly.

 

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What is not so friendly at times is the control.  If you’ve become acclimatized to console control, make sure you have a good gamepad otherwise you’re lumbered with the keyboard control which does not always feel comfortable.  After some practice and a few hours of practical experience, it feels a bit more natural and a few of the moves are actually easier to pull off using the keyboard.

 

Progression through The Lost Expedition happens in the usual manner: 

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learn a new move or acquire a new item to access previously inaccessible areas.  Find the pick-axes and Harry can clamber up the ice wall to access the predictable Ice World.  There is quite a bit of jumping and vine-swinging and a fair number of frustrating jumping puzzles to test your platforming skills.  Some provide a real sense of accomplishment, especially if you’ve been stymied again and again because of a mis-timed series of jumps or because you run into the “hanging jump” bug.  This bug appears when you land close to an edge of a platform and Harry kind of hangs there – almost like he’s trying to land but just can’t quite do it.  This bug screwed me over a few times but because I don’t know if this problem is unique to the PC version I don’t know whom to blame, Aspyr or the original developers.

 

pitfall the lost expedition review          pitfall the lost expedition review

 

The other distraction from the overall experience is the amount of backtracking involved.

 

For what my opinion’s worth, Pitfall: The Lost Expedition is a solid platformer with a few faults.  But it also fills a void on the PC, that gray area between Freddy Fish and Half-Life 2.

 

- D.D. Nunavut

(February 8, 2005)

 

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